Not that my opinion will matter in the larger picture, but "Frozen II" feels like re-heated Disney leftovers.
Let it go? I'm over it already. "Frozen II" is the long-awaited, highly-anticipated follow-up to what was the highest-grossing animated film of all-time, having just been surpassed this past Summer by "The Lion King" re-make. But "Frozen"'s haul of roughly 1.27 billion in cold hard box office cash in 2013 made it the Disney animated film of a generation. The sequel was inevitable, but was it necessary?
"Frozen II" reunites all of the major voice talents and characters from the first film and launches them off on an adventure into the nearby "Enchanted Forest" on a quest to save their kingdom. There's Anna (Kristen Bell) and her Ice Princess sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel), and of course their re-animated snowman friend, Olaf (Josh Gad). Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) returns along with his trusty reindeer sidekick, Sven, and we're introduced to a few new characters this time as well voiced by Sterling K. Brown, Jason Ritter and Martha Plimpton.
It's a beautifully animated film...no dime has been spared in rendering this magical, snowy universe, and those that are in love with these characters are ABSOLUTELY going to love spending a bit more time, even if this story is sub-par in every sense of the word. I'm sad to report that "Frozen II" lacks any of the same magic as the first film, and had this been the 1980s or 1990s, "Frozen II" might have just been another direct-to-video sequel...a practice that the Mouse House was famous for doing with all of their animated hits old and new (who can forget for example, "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II," "The Fox and the Hound 2," "101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure," or "Cinderalla II: Dreams Come True"...or on second thought, who can remember them?)
Yes, it's not a new concept that Disney would try to cash in on a successful animated or existing franchises...they've been doing it from the very beginning and in fact, it's their bread-and-butter. But audiences today deserve more than an uninspired rehash...is Pixar the only studio that is capable of making successful animated sequels?
With "Frozen II," we get more time with some beloved characters, but we don't necessarily get anything more. Most disappointing of all - and a true measure of any great Disney animated film - is that the music of "Frozen II" feels completely snowed over. There is not one memorable song in the bunch, and one such rendition, a Kristoff performance called "Lost in the Woods," may be one of the worst musical numbers in Disney's cinematic history.
The movie too, plays a bit too dark in tone. Olaf is missing from large chunks of it, and its themes feel too similar to the ones explored in "Frozen." We've been there, done that with the whole sisterhood/friendship thing, and some thinly-veiled environmental issues raised in the film just fall flat. Even when Olaf is on-screen, he doesn't seem to possess the same magic spark that made him lovable during the first go.
With no new songs to latch onto, no new characters to really care about, and no new depths explored with any of these relationships, "Frozen II" comes up cold on all fronts, despite offering up the warmth of nostalgia. We know that Disney took its time in bringing this sequel to life, and wanted to treat its newly-found prized animated asset with as much care as possible, but the result feels a bit too safe. Yes, "Frozen II" stands to make another killing at the box office, and some estimates have it even surpassing its predecessor. But I would have loved for this universe, these characters, to catch fire this time around...instead it feels more like freezer-burn.
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy.
Run Time: 1 hour 43 minutes.
Starring (voices of): Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood, Jason Ritter, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds, Santino Fontana, Alfred Molina.
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee ("Frozen").
"Frozen II" opens everywhere on Friday, November 22nd, 2019.
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